PA Great Outdoors: True Tales of the Clarion River – Yes, Boys, Why So Much Bread?

This is a story by Harry M. Graybill of Fisher Pennsylvania from the book True Tales of Clarion River written in 1933 by George P. Sheffer under the auspices of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Raftsmens Association.

Yes, Boys, Why So Much Bread?

I thought I would add a little to your raftsmans stories which I have been reading in the Democrat.  I never was much of a riverman but my father James Graybill and my uncle Dave Allison were both pilots on the Clarion and Allegheny.

My father and uncle both worked on boat scaffolds at Gravel Lick in the 70’s and later on both of them became good square timber men.  Both are now dead.

My mother (Ida Allision) worked in the boarding house at Millcreek 61 years ago (1872) when Jim Henninger ran the house. My mother and Lizzie Williams worked there. Lizzie Williams married Frank Reck. Mother is still living (80 years old) and still tells about the job at Millcreek in the early days.

I want to tell you a raftsman’s story that I heard told in a camp at Nebraska on Tionesta Creek. This story was told on Wheeler’s men. Wheeler’s boats and barges were built at Hickory on the Allegheny about 7 miles above Tionesta.

The story runs that a bunch of Wheeler’s men were going down on a fleet of boats and barges, and having been on the river several days they ran out of bread and whiskey. Down on the lower river the pilot gave one of the crew a five dollar bill and a John boat and sent him off to a little town to get bread and whiskey.

The fellow got two loaves of bread and the balance in whiskey, and when he got back to the fleet someone wanted to know what in the H— he was going to do will all that bread.”

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